Evaluation approaches

There are a vast range of evaluation approaches and methods that can be used to evaluate prevention of violence against women and gender equity projects. Some methods are more complex than others, while some are straight forward but may take extra resourcing. Depending on the scale and time of the initiative being evaluated consider some of the following evaluation approaches.

The following evaluation theories or approaches may be useful when thinking through the evaluation. Further, more complex, collective evaluation methodologies can be found in the Contributing to Shared Measurement section.

Feminist evaluation approach

It is recommended that evaluation of PVAW strategies are informed by feminist approaches. Feminist evaluation is based on feminist research and grounded in feminist theory. The key strength of this approach is that it acknowledges evaluation as political. It emphasises participatory and empowering processes and a social justice agenda. While feminist evaluation overlaps with other utilisation focused approaches it is key for prevention of violence against women and gender equity work.

For more on Feminist evaluation theory and further reading refer to the following resources:

Participatory evaluation

Participatory evaluation is a human rights based approach where the intended 'targets' of your project evaluation are involved in decisions about the project and its evaluation. Participatory evaluation is similar to other action research or interactive evaluation approaches (Stevahn & King, 2016; Owen, 2006).

The participatory approach is often used across different target groups with the philosophy that the project and the evaluation should be of benefit to the community involved. Capacity to undertake participatory approaches can be limited due to resource constraints and issues arising from the participant requirements versus the practical demands of the real world (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2008).

Differences between conventional evaluation and participatory evaluation*

Conventional EvaluationParticipatory Evaluation
WhoExternal expertsCommunity, project staff, expert as facilitator
WhatPredetermined indicators of success, primarily cost and health outcomes or gainsPeople identify their own indicators of success, which may include health outcomes and gains
HowFocus on "scientific objectivity," distancing evaluators from other participants; uniform, complex procedures; delayed, limited access to resultsSelf-evaluation; simple methods adapted to local culture; open, immediate sharing of results through local involvement in evaluation processes.
WhenUsually completion; sometimes also midtermMerging of monitoring and evaluation; hence frequent small-scale evaluations.
WhyAccountability, usually summative, to determine if funding continuesTo empower local people to initiate, control, and take corrective action

* Minkler & Wallerstein, 2008